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Grayson DeWolfe and his Debut EP “Growing Pains”

Singer-songwriter Grayson DeWolfe released his new EP “Growing Pains” at the end of 2017.  While being a big hit throughout the Midwest, this release is going to gain fans across the country.  It is filled with a rollercoaster of emotions that will take any listener to a familiar place in their life.  With a mix of upbeat jams to lyrical tearjerkers, it is hard to pick one favorite.  A week before the entire release, his single “Karma” generated hype within his fan base.  I was able to attend his EP release show and interview Grayson about what was going through his mind while working.

Grayson spent all of 2017 creating this EP, so he was extremely relieved to finally release his hard work to the world.  The hardest part about not releasing the songs was that he would “just get sick of people not getting to hear it.”  Not only was Grayson excited for the release, but so were all of his loyal fans.  No one knew what to expect from the recent solo artist since he only finished working with his previous band a year ago.

Although a lot of the songs are easy to get lost in and just bop along to, the lyrics are so relatable and emotional that is hard not to feel something.  Grayson explains that the lyrics “all stem from something that [he] went through.  If [he] didn’t go through it, [he] wouldn’t write about it.”  He continues about how although the lyrics are created from personal experiences, and he carefully picks “words and phrases that will respond universally.”  DeWolfe’s passion is heard through the recorded version, but it is a totally different experience when fans can see how connected he is when performing live.

Before the release, DeWolfe set up group chats online with his fans to keep them informed and bring them closer together with one another.  What he did not expect was that the fans kept the group chat alive when he could not always be there.  What was even more of a surprise was fans that used to be strangers were becoming friends.  He was so happy to see that “music is a catapult to making that be a thing.  Just the fact that the music and [him] are a reason that people come together, that’s the experience [he] wants[s] to keep creating.”  With fans that are already so dedicated and friendly, it will be very easy for Grayson to continue generating a unique fan base experience.

After talking about his fans, we moved onto more about what was running through his mind while making “Growing Pains.”  Like any EP or album, it can be interpreted in any way the listener desires.  After learning what growing pains means to DeWolfe, it may form a new perception while listening.

2017 was a tough year for him right off the bat.  Like most people do, he went into the year with a plan when suddenly it was ruined.  Not only did he go through a tough and unexpected break up, but his band broke up, and the college he was planning on attending would not allow him in because of one class he was missing.  With all of that gone, he was left with an empty future.  Not knowing what to do, Grayson went to a friend for some advice.  His friend said, ‘“it would be wise to enjoy it…these are what I call growing pains.  You’re going to look back on this year in 20, 30, 50 years and you’re going to be glad that you had this year.”’  Once hearing that, Grayson realized that he was actually growing.  Another friend told him that she was ‘“so excited to see the new person [Grayson] becomes after all of this is over.”’  With 2017 being over, he truly believes that he has grown and become a different person compared to a year ago.

Even though the title and idea came from advice from a friend and experience over the past year, DeWolfe believes that the best summary of “Growing Pains” comes from the last line of the speech from the opening track.  Spoken by his former business management professor at Hamline University, the last line says, “the day you lose everything is the day that you start growing.”  The speech was written by Grayson DeWolfe as a form of direction for the professor, but the recorded version is “just snippets of [the professor’s] little improvisations.”  With the him straying from the written text, it allowed the speech to be “more real” and sounded like he was “speaking from the heart as a philosophical old man.”  With this, it created a more natural feeling and starts listeners with an outline of what is to come next.

Being a solo singer-song writer, some listeners may think that it may have been more stressful to create an EP without a band, but Grayson says, “I was able to go different places with different songs without anyone telling me that I couldn’t.”  He did most of the work, but being solo allowed him to have more collaboration than he has ever had in the past. From working Rian Dawson from All Time Low to a producer that works with Florida Georgia Line, DeWolfe had more opportunities to create than he did before with his old band.

The majority of the songs from the EP were written throughout 2017 with the exception of “Please Hurry Up”.  With his first break up at 16, Grayson was left with “frustration, loneliness, and sadness.”  This powerful song was the result of those feelings even though it may sound like a tribute to his future wife.  He explains that, “It’s more frustration that I haven’t met her yet or I’m not with a person yet that I feel that this is my future wife.”  What took him so long to complete the song was that after a while, those feelings went away making the song not a priority.  The reason this track made it onto the EP was because he was left heartbroken again in 2017.  Having those same feelings resurface, he knew it was time to go back to the song he started years ago.  Using what he already created as an outline to the track, he then explained that, “I went back and made it a lot more mature than it was before…  It didn’t get finished because there was nothing in me that wanted to until I realized I needed to later in life.”  The wait was well worth it though because this track is one that has been making listeners feel emotional.  With a choir, string instruments, a guitar solo, and a crazy number of tracks stacked on each other, this turned out to be his favorite and most complex song he wrote on the EP.

“Growing Pains” is an EP that can be loved by anyone.  Whether fans want to dance around to “Singing by Myself” or mellow out to “Close”, there is a song for it.  His powerful lyrics and catchy tunes make Grayson DeWolfe an artist to keep your eyes on for this year.